Sunday, November 19, 2006

Mashaal: US, Israel to lose if PA boycott persists

Hamas leader says PA will collapse if unity government is set up and boycott is not lifted; ‘Bush Administration, international community must respect Palestinians’ wishes,’ he says

"Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal told the Al-Ahram Egyptian daily on Sunday that Israel and the United States will sustain heavy losses if "the boycott of the Palestinian people" continues.

He added that if a Palestinian unity government is set up and the boycott is not lifted, the Palestinian Authority would collapse. "If they continue in the path of starvation and pressure against the moderate Palestinian forces, they will come out losers and find themselves facing a result opposite the one they had hoped for," he said.

Speaking from Damascus, Mashaal said there are some positive signs regarding the guarantees received for lifting the boycott on the Palestinian Authority, but added that these signs are ‘insufficient.’

According to him, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, senior Hamas officials and Arab elements are conducting intensive talks with the Americans and Europeans to secure these guarantees.

'Hamas will never recognize Israel'

He said the Bush Administration and the international community must respect the Palestinians wishes, particularly in light of the establishment of a unity government in the PA.

Mashaal said Hamas’ demand to condition the formation of such a government on guarantees for lifting the boycott is justified.

Mashaal said also that the new Palestinian government would appoint 24 ministers: five technocrats and 19 affiliated with Hamas, Fatah and other Palestinian factions.

He also said that Hamas will finalize the appointment of a prime minister with Fatah, noting that the candidate should not necessarily be a member of the Islamic group. "It is enough he is close to us," Mashaal said.

"Hamas will never recognize Israel, even if a Palestinian state is set up," he said. "Which right do we have to acknowledge the legitimacy of the occupation? It is also forbidden to submit to American and Israeli logic. If any Arab country had occupied land like we do they would have acted like us," he said.

He blamed Israel for lack of progress in talks on a prisoner exchange deal with Hamas. "

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